France's longest river, the Loire, originates in Central France then meanders north before turning west towards the Atlantic and into the Loire Valley. From the coastal town of Nantes to central France, the Loire Valley spans almost 300km. And over this distance, both geography and climate change dramatically. The west is marked by moderating ocean breezes and a mild maritime climate such as we see in Muscadet Sevre et Maine, but in Sancerre, in the far east of the valley in central France, this changes to hot summers and freezing winters.
With different climates and geography come a wide variety of wine styles. From Layon are the highly concentrated and lusciously sweet wines. Sancerre gives us the high acid Sauvignon Blancs and quaffable Muscadets (which beg to be paired with seafood). Top notch traditional method (Champagne style) bubbly is made throughout the region as well as red wines, such as Chinon, and rosés of varying sweetness levels.
A popular destination among holiday goers drawn to the numerous chateaus and vineyards, this region is also a hot bed for, organic, biodynamic and natural wine production. Many vineyards are being farmed according to the lunar calendar, and/or are using a more holistic approach to farming, such as the omission of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and added sulfites. Many wines are also fermented without commercials yeasts (wild ferment), using just the naturally occurring yeasts found on the grapes.
The Loire Valley was once the playground of French royalty and nobility, perhaps because of the wine?